by Claire McConaughy
March, 1993, pg. 18

A New Emphasis on Degeneration of Presentation Reintegration

Born to Obsess

Within the context of "I Was Born Like This," the exhibition curated by Kenny Schachter, all of the artworks lend themselves to an autobiographical interpretation. The show invitation which bares a photograph of Schachter ten years ago as a heavyset plaid polyester-jacketed smiling lawyer (which is a far cry from Schachter of 1993) is just the beginning of the exposes. "I Was Born Like This" emphasizes the genuineness of these eight artists because they just can't help what they are or what they do, being born is their justification and validation. Beth Haggart's obsessive stacking of open card-board boxes to form a wall is compelling. It becomes a metaphor for strength, an obsessive/compulsive piece about the need to accomplish monumental tasks against all odds, and challenges ideas of "emptiness" and "fullness".

Rachel Harrison's piece "Are you sure it's the right baby?" directly addresses the theme not only in title but in the execution of her installation. This piece consists of large garbage bags suspended from ropes and sticks in a back corner of the garage which is the exhibition site. The piece hangs overhead in haphazard way. There are random bits of string, tape and hand-written notes. One note explains that Harrison had the piece installed and then decided that she didn't like it so she covered it up with garbage bags. Another note gives us the title of the piece and a story of how when she was born her mother asked, "Are you sure it's the right baby?" Once her piece was made she must've asked, "Are you sure it's the right piece?" and decided it wasn't at least not until she covered it with garbage bags. Other works in the show are autobiographical, scatological, or relate to how the artists see themselves within the context of society.

The location, a garage, and the found/discarded object quality to most of the works mirrors the urgency one senses about the artist's need to create these pieces. This same urgency creates an intense energy that envelopes the viewer and makes one think that it is the creative act that is important first and foremost. After all, being born is creation.

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